Salvini Proposes Ten-Year Jail Terms for Surrogacy

The parliament is currently debating a bill that would make the practice a “universal crime”

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League Party, is seeking to increase the penalties for those utilizing surrogacy services abroad. He has proposed an amendment to a bill put forward by the ruling Brothers of Italy party, which aims to criminalize surrogacy as a “universal crime.”

Surrogacy has been illegal in Italy since 2004. In vitro fertilization is only permitted for heterosexual couples. The current penalty for surrogacy includes jail time and a substantial fine.

Last year, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni pledged to extend the ban by criminalizing couples who travel overseas to access surrogacy services in countries where it is legal. The bill, introduced by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, was approved by the lower house of parliament and is now under debate in the Senate. This legislation proposes increasing the fine from €600,000 to €1 million ($1,070,000), and the jail term from three months to two years.

The League party, a coalition partner with the Brothers of Italy, has submitted an amendment to the Senate Justice Commission. This amendment proposes raising the maximum prison sentence to ten years and the fine to €2 million. According to a report published by L’Espresso on Saturday, the party has also advocated for “punishment of public officials who record children born from surrogacy in the civil status.”

Salvini has been a vocal critic of surrogacy. In the past, he has compared surrogate mothers to an “ATM-woman… that produces babies,” and vowed to combat “this barbarous and inhumane practice.” On Tuesday, he reiterated his stance, claiming that surrogacy equates to “buying children.”

“There is the law that will outlaw renting uteruses not only in Italy, as is already the case, but also internationally, and therefore the purchase of children and women’s bodies, the mere thought of which is horrible,” he told Radio 24, arguing that children “must be adopted and come into the world if there is a mother and a father.”

Meloni has defended the proposed law, arguing that the practice treats children like ‘supermarket products’. Critics view the legislation as an attack on the LGBTQ community.

“No one can convince me that it is an act of freedom to rent one’s womb, no one can convince me that it is an act of love to consider children as an over-the-counter product in a supermarket,” she said earlier this year, urging the parliament to pass the bill.